I’m Worn Down! How Can I Possibly Take On More?

Are you going through a particularly challenging time in life right now? Are you dealing with pain in your body or a discouraging diagnosis, wondering why you don’t feel like a twenty something any more? Are finances putting stress on you and your significant other’s relationship? Is someone important in your life needing more time and energy that you just don’t have time to give? These are all stressors that pile on top of our already full calendar. What are we to do?

A few years back, my family started to realize that my dad was forgetting to pay bills that he had always been well on top of. As we dug a little deeper, we realized that dad was starting to develop dementia. Mom and dad had taken care of their own needs up until this point, but it was clear that they were going to need more help. All seven of us kids chipped in and did our part and for that I am very thankful. Since I live close to them, and mom had never had to deal with their finances before, I jumped in to partner with her on that. Dad’s decline was slow, which allowed us all to enjoy quality time with him and my mom, but I soon found myself having to take on a new job with very set hours. Within a short time of my schedule filling to the point of overflowing, my dad started to decline faster and my parents needed more support than ever. I, as well as my siblings, felt overwhelmed at times, not knowing how to juggle everything. We were focusing on one of the important things in our lives, but how were we to take care of everyone and everything that needed our attention?

Ever since I became a Life Coach back in 2011, and continued to deal with the ups and downs that life dished out, I have been determined to find an answer to help each of us manage all of the areas that are most important to us. Through a lot of trial and error, I have come across only one answer, baby steps.

There is no possible way for us to fit a big step into our already full schedule, and there are simply some things that we cannot say “no” to. If we have identified our new challenge as something that is most important to us, the only answer is baby steps.

If you are finding yourself overwhelmed by something today, and you have determined with all of your heart that this is something you cannot say “no” to, here is where to start.

  • Your first baby step is to do some real soul searching to see if there is anything you can remove from your calendar to make room for this new important area. If your child was studying for a “do or die” test in school, would you not require her to eliminate other things from her schedule until the test was over? When we grow up and have kids, we suddenly feel like we have to handle everything. YOU CAN’T! Talk to those you love and see if you can come up with a solution to take a few things off of your plate for now. Eliminating sleep is not an option here, we will discuss that next. This is a very important first baby step.
  • Your second baby step is to take care of your basic needs. You will only be at your best, to take care of others, when you first take care of yourself. Like baby step #1, you know this to be true, and you would give the same advice to someone you love. Remember, these are not big steps, these are baby steps. It does not mean going for a full grocery shopping trip. It may mean making a healthy decision for lunch on the go instead of a eating a Blizzard from Dairy Queen. It might mean leaving the pile of laundry to be folded later so you can go to bed. Please take care of your basic needs!
  • Baby step number three is: When you feel overwhelmed by the enormity of your tasks, break it down. In your day planner, a journal or a scratch piece of paper, break it down into your next few baby steps and focus on those. Do this to whatever degree you need to. If it would be a relief to do a brain dump and write out all of the things that come to your mind, do it, but then choose just the next few baby steps to focus on. This brings us to our last baby step for each day.
  • When you are laying in bed each night, walk through your day and remember all that you accomplished. If you spent the entire day sitting in a hospital waiting room with someone you loved, that was exactly what you were supposed to be doing. Remembering what you accomplished reminds you that you did focus on what’s most important in your life. It allows you to be grateful for the opportunities you had and to sends you to sleep on a positive note. Celebrate what you accomplished today!

This is not an easy subject, and baby steps is not an easy answer, but it is the right answer. If life is really tough right now, take care of yourself and do what you can, even if your baby steps are (as my friend calls them) as small as a gnat’s a%#. Keep going. You can get through this to the other side.

I really want to hear from you, even if you disagree with me completely. I am going to post this blog out on our Facebook Group and I would love to hear your thoughts on baby steps. Have they worked for you? Do you have another solution that has worked for you? Click here to join the conversation on our FaceBook Group. If you have not joined us yet, please do! We would love to hear from you.

Photo by Kat Jayne from Pexels

Where Do You Want To Go?

If you have read my posts for any time at all, you know that I talk alot about baby steps. Taking one small step at a time to accomplish whatever you want to accomplish. Well, I’ve changed my mind. I’ve decided to do away with “baby steps” and trade it in for a new 2019 model. I think you are going to like it!

The first week in January, I sat across the table at lunch with a wonderful woman. We talked about changes in her family life and how her parents and in-laws were going to need more assistance and support in the upcoming year. She also talked about the fact that she knew that in order to take care of them, she was going to have to take care of herself. As she talked, she downplayed the baby steps she was taking, like they weren’t significant enough. She then switched gears and said “I’ve made some decisions. I’ve decided to ________ and I decided to _______ and those things are really working right now.” It dawned on me that all baby steps are, is one right decision at a time. Brilliant!

I don’t think it is possible for me to eliminate the words “baby steps” out of my vocabulary completely, because they have been my friends for so long. I do absolutely love the idea of all of us making one right decision at a time, here is why:

  • Making one right decision at a time is a great way to get unstuck if you feel as though you are “stuck” today.
  • Making one right decision at a time means every single moment is an opportunity for another right decision.
  • Making one right decision at a time creates movement and positive momentum.
  • Making one right decision at a time is personal to you. You are unique and amazing! You get to decide what right decision is best for you.

Like it or not, the decisions we make are moving us somewhere. We just want more of them to move us in the direction we know is right for our lives.

Right now I am making some right decisions regarding my health. I have made big changes in my diet, exercise and stress management over the past five years, but it is time for me to do better. I have some unresolved symptoms that have been lingering. I want them to get better. In addition, I have read more and more about the health of my brain and how my thinking contributes to good (or bad) health. These are areas I am devoting the entire year to, and that can feel overwhelming. I have to remind myself, as I remind you, I will keep moving in the right direction making one right decision at a time.

You wanna know what? You are already making right decisions everyday! You are already on the right track. Sometimes all we need to do is focus those right decisions in a particular direction. So the questions we all have to ask ourselves is “Where do you want to go in life? What do you want to do? How do you want to feel? What do I want the end of 2019 to look like? Once you have decided on where you want to go, you already know what to do.

We are going to continue the conversation this week out on our Facebook group. We would love to hear about what you are working towards and the right decisions you have made. If you don’t quite know where to start, we will see if someone in the group has been there too, and what they did to get started. You are also more than welcome to hang out and see what others are saying. Let’s spread our great ideas, those that have worked and those that have not!

Here’s to making one right decision at a time to get us to where we want to go!…Together!

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How to Tackle Those BIG Projects

Three ideas that will get you moving!

Summer is my favorite time a year! There is so much to do, and I generally have the energy to tackle some good projects. But sometimes, the projects are overwhelming and it is hard to get started. After all, the garage did not get into that bad of shape overnight, now I have to clean it out and get it organized? I’ve also been watering my front landscaping to ensure that my new bushes stay watered until they become established. Well, the weeds loved the water too, and are now starting to overtake my landscaping. I don’t mind projects, but they can become a little overwhelming at times. Baby steps are the solution!

I used to live by the philosophy that I would only work on big projects when I had a big chunk of time. Well, big chunks of time are rare in our lives today, but it still feels great to move forward and get things accomplished. You and I can make it happen through baby steps. Here is how:

  • Divide your big project into smaller, more manageable projects. Instead of weeding the entire landscape, decide to weed a small section. You will have it done in no time and feel like you have gotten something accomplished. Instead of cleaning out the entire closet, work on one section at a time. The next time you have a small period of time, work on the next small sections. Before you know it, you will have the job completed.
  • Shift your mindset. If you have not worked in baby steps in the past, it will take some getting used to. Stop looking at the project in terms of the BIG project. Divide it up in your mind into smaller pieces. Then move forward one small project at a time.
  • Accept the fact that some jobs will never be done. I know, I don’t like it either, but there will always be more laundry to do. In my case, there are always weeds growing that need to be pulled. Don’t get me wrong, tt does feel good to “check these things off our list”, but who says our laundry has to be 100% done? Sometimes these are expectations we put on ourselves that simply make us miserable. Let’s get done what we can, and be happy with what we accomplished.

What project do you want to tackle this summer? Right now, divide it into small projects and start on one at a time. I bet a few months from now, you will be amazed at what you have accomplished. One small baby step at a time!

Here’s to a great summer and accomplishing a bunch of mini projects!

An Important Key To Performance

It doesn’t matter what role you are living out in your life, I believe you want to perform well. You want to perform well as a wife, mother, daughter, sister, employee, boss, coach, or friend. There is one key area that can tend to be neglected, that is vital in the pursuit of performing well, and there is science to back it up. The key is Rest.

If you have read my blog for any amount of time, you know that I am a huge advocate for rest. I think, at times, we run ourselves ragged and we take our loved ones, even our children, along for that same rough ride. Summer is here. It is time for some fun in the sun, but it is also time for some much-needed rest and rejuvenation.

I read a very interesting book that is filled with stories and studies about how peak performers stay highly successful in their pursuits that is called Peak Performance by Brad Stulberg and Steve Magness. They introduce the equation for growth and success. Part of the equation is rest. Top performers don’t just know how to work hard, they know how to rest hard, too. They know that their bodies and minds need down time. They know that in giving their bodies and minds rest, they are able to grow and take things to a level that many of us only dream about.

Imagine it…

You want to be a great mom. Work hard at it, but also rest hard at it and you will take your ability to be a great mom to the next level.

I want to be a great writer. I have to work hard at it, but also give my mind time to rest and grow, and I will take my writing to the next level.

The unfortunate news is that the chronically busy lives we live work against this concept of rest, therefore, the benefits of rest. It is suggested that we get between 7-9 hours of sleep a night and many of you start to laugh out loud when I even suggest it. What science is telling us is that when we are not resting, we are not working at our peak performance when we are awake. What science is saying is that if we prioritize sleep and rest, our awake hours will be much more focused and productive.

How, then, do we make the change? One small manageable step at a time. I do not take my morning and afternoon breaks at work. I would even bet that if I did not have to go home to feed my dog at lunch, I would probably work through it, too. What the science is telling me, is that I will be more focused and productive if I take those two extra breaks in my work day. Those are the two small manageable baby steps I am going to start this week.

What is it that you want to take to the next level? Work hard at it, allow yourself breaks throughout your day, week, month and year, and that rest will foster taking whatever it is to the next level.

If you are not giving yourself enough rest right now, how can you change that? What small manageable step can you start this week to prioritize rest?

Summer has begun! Enjoy it! If you want an encouraging yet motivating book to ready, grab Peak Performance. Give your time to what is most important to you, then rest and see yourself and your endeavors grow!

Here’s to being the best you can be, doing the things that are most important to you, and enjoying a good night’s rest!

You Will Make It!

Celebrate at the finish line!

Sometimes in the midst of life, as we work hard to take small baby steps and keep moving forward, we wonder if we will ever get to where we are going. We wonder if we will ever accomplish our goal. Will we ever see light at the end of the tunnel? Will we ever cross the finish line?

The answer is YES!

In the past few weeks, I have talked to a number of amazing women who are crossing the finish lines of big goals.

  • One is retiring after many years of hard work and savings. She is on to her next adventure!
  • One is finishing up her last class to receive her Masters degree! She sees the light at the end of the tunnel!
  • One is wrapping up all of the paperwork for a family member’s estate after they had passed away. What a relief!
  • One is making her last tuition payment for her children. How exciting!

You will cross the finish lines of your life, if you keep going and don’t give up!

I bet each one of the ladies above would share with you stories of their journey, and they would include the following.

  • Their journey did not look exactly the way they had originally envisioned it. We set out on a journey and I think most of us think we will travel from point A to point B in a straight line. Once we get on the road though, we inevitably run into delays, detours, and even distractions. These times can be challenging because we see where we need to go, but for whatever reason, we can’t get their on a straight path.
  • The time it took to travel their journey may not have been what they originally planned. This is not true for everyone, but it is true for many. Accomplishing big goals in life require time, growth, learning, and persevering. All of the delays, detours and distractions listed above require our time, and that waiting time can be hard.
  • They could not have done it alone. Thank goodness we do not have to tackle life alone! The people in our lives bring the spice to it! They also bring encouragement and, many times, real help that we need. People make our journey worthwhile and interesting!

Congratulations to all of you who are crossing the finish line of your goals! You have persevered through many small baby steps and have won the race! We celebrate your amazing accomplishment with you!

For those of you, like me, who are smack dab in the middle of our journey, let’s try to enjoy the journey, embrace the time of learning and growth, and know that WE WILL cross the finish line if we keep taking one baby step at a time!

For those of you who are getting ready to set out on a new journey in life, set your sights on that goal, keep it before you at all times, don’t be surprised if you experience a few detours, delays or distractions. Plan your course, keep moving one step at a time, and plan your celebration when you reach your goal!

Here’s to a great journey, great people and a great celebration at the finish line!

Are You Overloaded?

I have talked to a number of ladies, just in the past few weeks, who feel like they are drowning. They simply have too much to do and not enough time to do it. Life is stressful enough, a long to-do list adds to that stress, but not seeing the time in your schedule to take care of these important things almost makes life feel unbearable. Have you ever felt this overloaded?

It breaks my heart that you have to go through moments in life that are so overwhelming. I wish I could provide for each of you, exactly what you need to calm the storms of your life. The reality is, that you will have these times, but also know that it is possible for things to slow back down.

The life-preserver that I throw out to you today is not going to surprise you. I hope with all of my heart that you grab a hold of it and utilize it to lift your head up out of the frenzy you find yourself in.

The life-preserver I throw to you today is the reminder to utilize baby steps. I know, you wanted a better life-preserver than that, and trust me, I wanted to give you one better than that. I have not found one that works in real life though. It makes me sad to say this, but we do have to go THROUGH these challenging times in order to get out the other side.

I just recently went THROUGH a similar time, and I am not out of the woods yet, but it’s getting easier. A few times in the processes, I felt a high level of stress bordering on panic. I wanted out! I wanted something or someone to save me. I wanted immediate relief, but that did not happen. I hated the idea that I was going to have to push through on my own. To be honest with you, I got angry with myself for teaching the concept of baby steps. I wanted to throw that life-preserver back, but it was my only hope. It was all I had.

I know sometimes you are pushing through deep water in your life, but know that as you get closer to the shore, the water becomes easier to push through. Keep taking one step at a time and before you know it, the water will only be ankle-deep.

Here’s to keeping our eyes on the shore, dreaming of sitting in the sun and taking one more step to get there!


Action Steps:

  • Make a list of the thing you need to get done. Divide the list into “must dos” and wanna dos”.
  • Start to take one baby step at a time to work through your lists.
  • Celebrate each baby step that you accomplish.

 

How to Have a Great Year!

Regardless of How it Started

How did you ring in the New Year? With happiness and celebration? With concern and apprehension? With joyous anticipation? With sadness and heartbreak? These are real life emotions, and every single one of them is okay. My question for you to ponder is, no matter how your new year began, what do you want the rest of the year to look like?

My year started with sadness. My dad peacefully passed away in his sleep after an amazing life of 88 years. My new year was filled with family and friends, of many years, coming together to celebrate an amazing life, yet mourn the empty spot we now have in our lives. My new year started out a little rough, but I have many things to look forward to and work towards in the year ahead.

How did your new year begin? What do you want for the year ahead? You want the best, right? The best for ourselves and for our loved ones. I believe, with everything in me, that you can work towards a great year regardless of how it started. Here are a few things to remember in the days, weeks and year to come.

  • Know that you have it within your control to have a great year. Make it a point each morning as you wake up and transition out of bed, to decide it is going to be the best day you can make it. As you get ready and drive to your first destination of the day, remember what is most important in your life. Take a few short breaks in your day and dream about the life you want to be living. When we fill our minds with the right stuff, we automatically start to gravitate towards those right things. You have a ton of control! Use that control to live many great days this year.
  • Know that your intentionality this year will positively affect the people around you. Our lives are filled with amazing people, and even though we do not always see how our actions affect others, they truly do. This is especially true the closer someone is to you. The positive direction you make in your life makes their lives more positive too.
  • Know that your example this year will show others that making positive changes in their lives is possible too. Living intentionally is rare. The more you live an intentional life, the more you will stand out from the crowd. There are many people who don’t yet know that taking control of their life and living intentionally is possible. Your example will show them that there is light at the end of the tunnel, that the life they desire is possible.

No matter what state your life was in as you stepped into the new year, decide what you want for yourself and your loved ones and work towards that a little bit each day this year. You can make 2018 exactly what you want it to be.

Here’s to embracing where we are today, dreaming of what we want for tomorrow, and taking one step at a time to move towards a great year!


Summary of Simple Actions Steps:

  • Make it a point each morning as you wake up and transition out of bed to decide it is going to be the best day you can make it.
  • As you get ready and drive to your first destination of the day, remember what is most important in your life.
  • Take a few short breaks in your day and dream about the life you want to be living.
  • Notice how your positive changes and intentionality affect those around you.

 

They Have Gotten Me Through

I have had a week filled with systems at work that failed and needed updating immediately, the health decline of an immediate family member, not prioritizing a loved one and letting them down, and I topped off the week today by catching a cold. With each of these came a multitude of tasks with urgent deadlines, except for getting sick, then everything halted to a stop!  In addition to all of these things, laundry still needed to be done, bills still needed to be paid, I still want to eat right, exercise and keep going. The one thing that got me through this week were baby steps. I kept asking myself “what is the next thing I need to do?” then the next, then the next, then the next.


I started this year out with a set of videos on the topic of baby steps. I never imagined that I would have utilized this concept as much as I have this last year. Baby steps have gotten me through the ups and downs of life. Even though it was stressful at times, knowing I could take small steps to move forward brought me some level of peace and comfort.

I also shared with you that many small steps over a long period of time bring us to great places. I now look back over 2017 and I am thrilled with how far I have come. For me,  it has not been a year of great task achievement, but it has been a year of essential learning that will propel me into a great future. I hope you can look back over this past year and say the same as well.

Whatever it is you need to do, even if it is get through the next 24 hours, take it one baby step at a time. Ask yourself “what is the next thing I need to do to move forward?” and do it…then repeat. Baby steps keep us inching forward even when we don’t feel like it is possible.

Whatever it is that life throws at you this week, keep striving for your best! You are doing great things, one small step at a time!